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A brilliant display from England in Pau earned them the U20 Men’s Six Nations title as they beat a powerful France side 45-31 at the Stade du Hameau.

Trailing 21-5 midway through the first half, England ran in 33 points in the second half, using their dominant rolling maul to get the better of Les Bleuets.

Ben Redshaw had got them off to a dream start with a try after two minutes but France roared back with three converted scores.

However, James Isaacs got over twice from a maul either side of half-time, and then an intercept score from Ioan Jones got England the bonus point.

Henry Pollock, a penalty try and James Halliwell then helped them race clear, securing five points to finish one clear of Ireland – against whom they drew a week ago.

Redshaw had got England off to a flyer, taking advantage of a pass behind Théo Attisogbe to scoop the ball up and race 90 metres for the first try.

France, who were able to call on their Top 14 and Pro D2 players this week, included ten World Cup winners, and that told as they hit back. Pouncing on a loose ball in midfield, Attisogbé offloaded to Léon Darricarrère, who did the same to find Mathis Ferté to race over. Hugo Reus converted to make it 7-5.

That soon became 14-5, full international Posolo Tuilagi doing damage from the maul and opening up space for Kalvin Gourgues to get over.

Brilliance from Attisogbé created a third, dropping the ball to his toe and grubbering past Redshaw before feeding Ferté who found Léo Carbonneau for the third try. Reus converted once more and at 21-5, France’s pedigree seemed to be telling.

Their discipline was an issue though, and England took advantage to get a five-metre lineout on the stroke of half-time, Isaacs getting over as France had no answer.

It was the same story to start the second half, England going to the corner from a penalty and Isaacs getting over once more. Sean Kerr converted both from the touchline and England were back to within two points.

France responded, Lino Julien making good ground and Mathis Castro-Ferreira on hand for the offload to get the home side’s bonus-point score.

They looked set for another after more good work by the loose forwards, but with England short of numbers, Jones gambled and raced out of the line, picking off Carbonneau’s pass and racing for his side’s fourth.

France got three more points from their scrum, Reus slotting a penalty but the tide was turning. A lovely dart from Archie McParland with support from Finn Carnduff saw Henry Pollock go under the posts, George Makepeace-Cubitt converting with a drop-kick to level.

And then England’s maul went to work again, Thomas Duchêne conceding a penalty try and sent to the sin-bin before replacement James Halliwell added another.

Suddenly England were 14 points clear and in dreamland, and although France played the final minutes in England territory, they could not find a way through as the visitors secured a famous victory and a deserved Six Nations U20 title.

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